how to choose carpet tiles that last - free whitepaper

Carpet & Flooring Solutions for Schools, Colleges & Education
Whether in a classroom, hallway, library, or sports complex, carpet can define and inspire within the learning environment. Milliken will help you create inviting, supportive, and sustainable spaces for learning through modular carpet options that meet the tightest installation schedules.​​​​​​​​ ​​​​​​
Partnering For The Future Of Education
​​We understand that creating high-performance learning environments involves more than technical specs and hard costs. There’s also the challenge of satisfying the requirements of very diverse stakeholders; from the community and school board, to parents and staff, and the ultimate stakeholders—the students.

Milliken modular carpets help provide your school with a facility that enhances learning, improves student achievement, and creates a place of community pride. In addition to these benefits, our carpet tile is easier to maintain, helps alleviate floor moisture, and comes with 13 lifetime warranties against concerns such as staining, soiling, delamination, edge ravel, and color pattern loss.

Milliken is an experienced carpet provider with over 7,500 school installations and counting. Our broad array of easy-to-use modular carpet tile, entryway systems, dust control mats, and optional on-site Millicare® cleaning services simplify maintenance and transform school environments to help improve student performance and increase teacher retention.

Milliken’s PVC-free cushion backed modular carpets offer:
  • Best-in-class acoustics, reducing noise up to 25-50% more than other carpet.
  • Unparalleled durability to protect your investment with 'Severe' Texture Appearance Retention Rating products.
  • Anti-microbial and stain repel and release technologies creating easy to maintain carpets.
  • Unmatched moisture management to stop liquids at the surface and help wick moisture away from the sub-floor.
  • Customizable collections that incorporate school colors to create a source of school pride and community connection.
  • Improved indoor air quality (IAQ) and faster, easier carpet installation with TractionBack® modular tiles.  
  • A certified carbon negative company.


Better Acoustics = Better Learning
​​In a study by Beth Shapiro & Associates, more than 70% of teachers preferred carpet in their classrooms. So we designed a carpet tile to provide the best acoustical performance in the market. 

The best-in-class acoustics provided by Milliken carpets make it easier for students and teachers to hear, concentrate, and ultimately improve test scores. Numerous studies show that reduced noise levels improve knowledge retention and error rates among students while minimizing vocal chord strain among teachers. 

Milliken’s cushioned carpet tiles absorb up to 50% more noise than hard-backed carpets and up to 12 times more than hard surface and rubber flooring. Better yet, the new LEED v4 rewards schools for providing classrooms that facilitate better teacher-student communications by offering up to two LEED points. Clearly, acoustics matter.

According to David M. Sykes, Ph.D., “Children do not effectively listen in reverberant conditions.  A reverb time of 0.8 – 1.1 seconds is a good target.  Proper acoustics helps focus improve 48% and decreases error rates 10%.  It especially helps non-native English speakers.”
Carpet Noise Reduction Comparison
Higher noise reduction results in less reverberation, which in turn leads to better learning—improved listening and higher knowledge retention for students and less vocal cord strain for teachers.​
Milliken = Durability And Less Maintenance
​​Milliken’s cushioned carpets are engineered to last and simplify facility design and maintenance. From libraries to food courts, hallways to sports complexes—and, of course, classrooms—Milliken’s multi-layered cushioned carpet tile is rigorously constructed for rugged durability and versatility.  

With almost 150 years of experience in textiles and nearly 50 years in carpet design and manufacturing, our carpet begins with high performance nylon fiber designed to withstand wear and tear in the toughest environments. 

To enhance durability, we tuft fibers and support them with a PVC-free cushioned backing, which absorbs shock from thousands of footsteps each day. In fact, Milliken carpet tiles can retain their appearance up to 40% longer than non-cushioned tiles, increasing the life span of your purchase. This performance is equivalent to a rating of ‘severe’ against the most rigorous tests (TARR) in the industry. 

What does ‘severe’ rating mean for a school? The rating is typically reserved for products that can stand-up to the extreme foot traffic of an airport. We’re confident it will last years at your school, no matter how fast the school year flies by. To back this up, we have a warranty protecting against wear over the life of the carpet.

You’ll also have the support of the most comprehensive lifetime warranty packages in the industry. The carpet you buy today will stand up to years of foot traffic, sunlight, spills and more - and still look like new. We guarantee it with our StainSmart® and AlphaSan® technologies, which come standard on all Milliken carpets. 

When you consider the cost of caring for floors, Milliken carpet becomes even more appealing. The simple math speaks for itself.


  • Carpet is 31-53% less expensive to maintain than vinyl composition tile.
  • Hard surfaces require 2 ½ times more cleaning than carpet.
  • Maintenance supplies for vinyl floors cost roughly 7 times more than those needed for a carpeted surface.
  • Saves on energy costs with unrivaled thermal insulation via our patented cushion backing.
  • Reduces airborne allergens to help improve HVAC air flow. 
  • Bio-based Traction Back® tiles do not require additional adhesives and can be safely installed with the building occupied. 
Moisture + Milliken = Zero Worries
​​Moisture is a disruption in the school environment that no one wants. Whether it’s from the sub floor or surface-level spills, controlling moisture inside our school facilities can be a challenge. 

Milliken modular carpets have an unmatched moisture management system to stop liquids at the surface and wick moisture away from the sub-floor, thereby reducing and controlling conditions for mold and mildew growth. This control is made possible by multiple Milliken innovations: the cushion backing system, our StainSmart® stain and spill resist technology, and our AlphaSan® anti-microbial protection. And should you need fast installation at moisture levels at levels of 90 or 95% in-situ relative humidity, we take care of that situation too with our Milliken Moisture Pro Adhesives.

The technology in our innovative cushion backing allows moisture from the sub floor to be wicked away. This reduces damp conditions attractive to mold and mildew and helps protect the full facility investment. On the contrary, a hard-backed carpet can prevent moisture from wicking away from the sub floor allowing the moisture to pool under the carpet tile, which can harbor mold and break down water-based adhesives.   

Milliken Moisture Pro adhesives are a durable, low-VOC, water-based adhesives designed for the installation of modular carpet tiles on slabs with up to 95% moisture per ASTM F2170 and 10.0 pH. The low odor of Moisture Pro adhesive is ideal for occupied buildings or fast-tracked installations such as schools and senior living facilities where indoor air quality is a major concern and our TractionBack® systems are not selected.

For a final seal of protection, all Milliken cushion-backed carpet tiles include our AlphaSan® anti-microbial technology. This system protects against bacteria and other microbes that cause foul odors and discoloration. Any spills that penetrate below the surface of the carpet will come into contact with AlphaSan® reducing the opportunity for microbial activity. 


Moisture is absorbed, wicked across the tile and released through seams.

  1. StainSmart® technology repels and beads surface moisture
  2. AlphaSan® antimicrobial inhibits mold, mildew and odor
  3. Primary Coating prevents liquids from penetrating past surface
  4. Cushion Layer is an open-celled foam that absorbs moisture from the sub-floor and wicks it away​​
We Care About School Pride… It Matters

​School pride is not reserved for under the Friday night lights. Studies show that pride in a facility can help to reduce absenteeism and increase morale, which drive improvements in both student performance and teacher retention. There’s even data showing that the right school environment fosters a sense of student ownership for building appearance. (Matt Brown, York CCHS)

Milliken’s broad range of color and pattering technologies allows us to easily design and adapt existing carpets to transform your school into a place of community pride.
  • A variety of tile sizes, including 50cm, 1m, and planks, allow flexible design arrangements of standard product and the introduction of color in key areas.
  • A blend of dull and bright nylon fibers help to reduce staining and soiling while still highlighting vibrant school colors.
  • Collections offer a broad range of colors allowing made to order carpet tiles a cinch, without adding costs, minimums and delivery time.

Carpet selection can play a vital role in creating a stimulating and inspiring environment for students of all ages while also providing incredible functionality. Optimal solutions for schools are designed with anti-microbial, anti-static, and stain resistant technologies, which increase the life of the carpet. In addition, modular carpet also provides added maintenance benefits as individual tiles can be easily lifted to access the floor, swap tiles, or change their direction to achieve a new look.

Matt Brown, Assistant Superintendent of York County Comprehensive High School explains, “Besides the obvious improvements of sound quality, underfoot comfort, and ease of maintenance, the mere installation of the intriguing tile colors and patterns throughout the building have positively impacted employees, students and visitors."
Lessons Learned In Sustainability
​​Milliken is focused on delivering innovative flooring solutions to schools that build a creative, performance-encouraging learning environment and place for community pride while having zero impact on the planet.

At Milliken, sustainability is core to our culture. We believe a healthy enterprise and healthy earth are vitally linked. We care about and respect each other, our customers, and the world we share. While we hold ourselves accountable to the highest ethical standards, we derive our greatest satisfaction from creating innovations that help solve the worlds’ problems at a human level—adding value to people’s lives, improving health and safety, and making this world sustainable. 

In fact, our holistic approach to sustainability guides every decision we make. It’s led us to become the first and only carbon-negative manufacturer in the industry as certified by the respected Leonardo Academy. We achieve this by making use of alternative energy sources to power our operations and recording zero waste to landfill from our carpet manufacturing sites since 1992, among other sustainability initiatives.  

And we continue to pledge No Carpet to Landfill, we help our customers find better options for disposing of old carpet through the Milliken Carpet Landfill Diversion Program.

In addition to carbon-neutral features, Milliken carpet is:
  • PVC and plasticizer-free
  • NSF 140 Gold and Platinum certified
  • SMaRT® Platinum certified
  • CRI Green Label Plus® Certified

Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) deserves special consideration in creating an environment for young, developing minds. Milliken products have been PVC free for more than 20 years, and recent innovations, such as TractionBack® to enable sealant and adhesive-free installations, continue our commitment to improve IAQ.

Milliken & LEED
Milliken carpets and flooring solutions can help you create a LEED certified school.

MR Credit 2: Construction Waste Management
MR Credit 4: Recycled Content
MR Credit 5: Regional Materials
IEQ Credit 3.1/3.2: Construction IAQ Management Plan
IEQ Credit 4.1: Adhesives and Sealants
IEQ Credit 4.3: Flooring Systems
IEQ Prerequisite 3: Minimum Acoustical Performance
IEQ Credit 9: Enhanced Acoustical Performance
IEQ Credit 10: Mold Prevention
ID Credit 1

For more details on how Milliken contributions can help you reach your goal, view our LEED for Schools document:




Fast Delivery + Faster Installation

​Counting the clock on a tight deadline? Our Quick Ship​ program lets you choose from our standard collections and complete your summer and winter renovations before the bell rings. Don’t know how to buy? Take advantage of the purchasing power of the National Joint Powers Alliance. Buying Milliken carpet, mats, adhesives and MilliCare cleaning service through NJPA eliminates the timely bidding process—they've done the work for you!

Milliken has also designed the most advanced, built-in system for installing modular carpet, eliminating the need for wet adhesives and other additives. TractionBack® is a remarkable bio-based, high friction coating that keeps our PVC-free carpet tile securely in place without additional floor preparation, sealers, primers, tapes, dots, or adhesives. Ready to install out-of-the-box makes installation, moving, or placement of Milliken carpet easier for you, the installer, and your maintenance teams.

We thrive on fast-tracked projects. In fact, with TractionBack® you can install carpet tile and occupy the space in the same day.

  • Reduces installation time and cost with no manipulation of tiles with extra dots, glues, peeling of film, or taping required.
  • Eliminates the need to pre-treat surfaces with sealer or chemicals. 
  • Offers the best indoor air quality in the industry due to no VOC off-gassing during installation. The pick-and-place nature eases costs while letting students and staff breathe freely during and after installation without leaving the building.
Keeping an eye on the bigger picture
​​For almost 50 years, Milliken has been committed to improving the quality of education through technology advancements across our company. With the design of advanced athletic safety gear (Tegris®), safer playground equipment, comfortable school uniforms (VisaEndurance®), and durable floor coverings for schools across the Americas, together, we believe that the best in education performance is yet to come. 

Milliken Floor Covering is part of Milliken & Company, one of the largest privately held companies in the world. Milliken is an innovation company that has been exploring, discovering, and creating ways to enhance people’s lives since 1865. Our community of innovators has developed one of the larger collections of United States patents held by a private U.S. company. 

With expertise across a breadth of disciplines including specialty chemicals, floor covering, and performance materials, we work around the world, to add true value to people’s lives, improve health and safety, and help make this world more sustainable. 
The innovations created by Milliken empower our daily activities and can be found in a variety of places; from Crayola® Washable Markers and duct tape to more efficient wind-energy turbines and protecting drivers of NASCAR® vehicles. 


Milliken’s focus on the long view has brought us the Malcolm Baldrige® National Quality Award®, the European Quality Award®, the British Quality Award and the Canadian Quality Award. We’ve been recognized eight times as one of the World’s Most Ethical Companies by Ethisphere® magazine. And six times, Milliken has appeared among FORTUNE® magazine’s “100 Best Companies to Work For.” All part of Milliken’s corporate philosophy of “Doing Good” above all else.​